A flood of news in the last 24 hours regarding Russiagate. I am referring specifically to reports that the CIA ex-filtrated Oleg Smolenkov, a mid-level Russian Foreign Ministry bureaucrat who reportedly hooked himself on the coat-tails of Yuri Ushakov, who was Ambassador to the US from 1999 through 2008. He was recruited by the CIA (i.e., asked to collect information and pass it to the U.S. Government via his or her case officer) at sometime during this period. Smolenkov is being portrayed as a supposedly "sensitive" source. But if you read either the Washington Post or New York Times accounts of this event there is not a lot of meat on this hamburger.
Regardless of the quality of his reporting, Smolenkov is the kind of recruited source that looks good on paper and helps a CIA case officer get promoted but adds little to actual U.S. intelligence on Russia. If you understood the CIA culture you would immediately recognize that a case officer (CIA terminology for the operations officer tasked with identifying and recruiting human sources) gets rewarded by recruiting persons who ostensibly will have access to information the CIA has identified as a priority target. In this case, we're talking about possible access to Vladimir Putin.
If you take time to read both articles you will quickly see that the real purpose of this "information operation" is to paint Donald Trump as a security threat that must be stopped. This is conveniently timed to assist Jerry Nadler's mission impossible to secure Trump's impeachment. But I think there is another dynamic at play–these competing explanations for what prompted the exfiltration of this CIA asset say more about the incompetence of Barack Obama and his intel chiefs. John Brennan and Jim Clapper in particular.
A former intelligence officer and friend summarized the various press accounts as the follows and offered his own insights in a note I received this morning:
[Smolenkov] follows Ushakov back to Moscow, where he is a mid-level paper pusher doing administrative support for Ushakov. The CIA gets copies of Putin’s itineraries that Smolenkov photographs. He is a big hit, but ultimately produces nothing of vital importance because all truly sensitive information is hand carried by principles, and never seen by administrative staff. Moreover Ushakov advises on international relations, and would not be privy to anything dealing with intelligence. Ushakov, as a long-serving Ambassador to the US, would be asked by Putin to opine on US politics. Smolenkov has access to Ushakov’s post-meeting verbal comments, which he turns over to the CIA.
The initial reports of the Steele Dossier appeared in June 2016. This coincided with John Brennan ordering Moscow Station to turn up the heat on Smolenkov to gain access to what Putin is thinking. But Smolenkov has no real direct access. Instead, he starts fabricating and/or exaggerating his access to convince his CIA handler that he is on the job and worth every penny he is being paid by US taxpayers.
The information Smolenkov creates is passed to his CIA handler via the secure communications channel set up when he was signed up as a spy. But these reports are not handled in the normal way that sensitive human intelligence is treated at CIA Headquarters. Instead, the material is accepted at face value and not vetted to confirm its accuracy. My intel friend, citing a knowledgeable source, indicates that Smolenkov was not polygraphed.
This raised red flags in the CIA Counterintelligence staff, especially when Brennan starts briefing the President using the information provided by Smolenkov. Brennan responds by locking most of the CIA’s Russian experts out of the loop. Later, Brennan does the same thing with the National Intelligence Council, locking out the National Intelligence Officers who would normally oversee the production of a National Intelligence Assessment. In short, Brennan cooked the books using Smolenkov’s intelligence, which had it been subjected to normal checks and balances would never have passed muster. It’s Brennan’s leaks to the press that eventually prompt the CIA to pull the plug on Smolenkov.
There is public evidence that Brennan not only cooked the books but that the leaks of this supposedly "sensitive" intelligence occurred when he was Director and lying Jim Clapper was Director of National Intelligence. If Oleg Smolenkov was really such a terrific source of intel, then where are the reports? It is one thing to keep such reports close hold when the source is still in place. But he has been out of danger for more than two years. Those reports should have been shared with the Senate and House Intelligence committees. If there was actual solid intelligence in those reports that corroborated the Steele Dossier, then that information would have been leaked and widely circulated. This is Sherlock Holmes dog that did not bark.
Then we have the odd fact that this guy's name is all over the press and he is buying real estate in true name. What the hell!! If the CIA genuinely believed that Mr. Smolenkov was in danger he would not be walking around doing real estate deals in true name. In fact, the sources for both the Washington Post and NY Times pieces push the propaganda that Smolenkov is a sure fire target for a Russian retaliatory hit. Really? Then why publish his name and confirm his location.
That leaves me with the alternative explanation–Smolenkov is a propaganda prop and is being trotted out by Brennan to try to provide public pressure to prevent the disclosure of intelligence that will show that the CIA and the NSA were coordinating and operating with British intelligence to entrap and smear Donald Trump and members of his campaign.
I want you to take a close look at the two pieces on this exfiltration (i.e., Washington Post and NY Times) and note the significant differences
REASON FOR THE EXFILTRATION:
Let's start with the Washington Post:
The exfiltration took place sometime after an Oval Office meeting in May 2017, when President Trump revealed highly classified counterterrorism information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador, said the current and former officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive operation.
What was the information that Trump revealed? He was discussing intel that Israel passed regarding ISIS in Syria. (See the Washington Post story here.) Why would he talk to the Russians about that? Because every day, at least once a day, U.S. and Russian military authorities are sharing intelligence with one another in a phone call that originates from the U.S. Combined Air Operations Center (aka CAOC) at the Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar. Trump's conversation not only was appropriate but fully within his right to do so as Commander-in-Chief.
What the hell does this have to do with a sensitive source in Moscow? NOTHING!! Red Herring.
The NY Times account is more detailed and damning of Obama instead of Trump:
But when intelligence officials revealed the severity of Russia’s election interference with unusual detail later that year, the news media picked up on details about the C.I.A.’s Kremlin sources.
C.I.A. officials worried about safety made the arduous decision in late 2016 to offer to extract the source from Russia. The situation grew more tense when the informant at first refused, citing family concerns — prompting consternation at C.I.A. headquarters and sowing doubts among some American counterintelligence officials about the informant’s trustworthiness. But the C.I.A. pressed again months later after more media inquiries. This time, the informant agreed. . . .
The decision to extract the informant was driven “in part” because of concerns that Mr. Trump and his administration had mishandled delicate intelligence, CNN reported. But former intelligence officials said there was no public evidence that Mr. Trump directly endangered the source, and other current American officials insisted that media scrutiny of the agency’s sources alone was the impetus for the extraction. . . .
But the government had indicated that the source existed long before Mr. Trump took office, first in formally accusing Russia of interference in October 2016 and then when intelligence officials declassified parts of their assessment about the interference campaign for public release in January 2017. News agencies, including NBC, began reporting around that time about Mr. Putin’s involvement in the election sabotage and on the C.I.A.’s possible sources for the assessment.
Trump played no role whatsoever in releasing information that allegedly compromised this so-called "golden boy" of Russian intelligence. The NY Times account makes it very clear that the release of information while Obama was President, not Trump, is what put the source in danger. Who leaked that information?
WHAT DID THE SOURCE KNOW AND WHAT DID HE TELL US?
But how valuable was this source really? What did he provide that was so enlightening? On this point the New York Times and Washington Post are more in sync.
First the NY Times:
The Moscow informant was instrumental to the C.I.A.’s most explosive conclusion about Russia’s interference campaign: that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered and orchestrated it himself. As the American government’s best insight into the thinking of and orders from Mr. Putin, the source was also key to the C.I.A.’s assessment that he affirmatively favored Donald J. Trump’s election and personally ordered the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.
The Washington Post provides a more fulsome account:
U.S. officials had been concerned that Russian sources could be at risk of exposure as early as the fall of 2016, when the Obama administration first confirmed that Russia had stolen and publicly disclosed emails from the Democratic National Committee and the account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.
In October 2016, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a joint statement that intelligence agencies were “confident that the Russian Government directed” the hacking campaign. . . .
In January 2017, the Obama administration published a detailed assessment that unambiguously laid the blame on the Kremlin, concluding that “Putin ordered an influence campaign” and that Russia’s goal was to undermine faith in the U.S. democratic process and harm Clinton’s chances of winning.
“That’s a pretty remarkable intelligence community product — much more specific than what you normally see,” one U.S. official said. “It’s very expected that potential U.S. intelligence assets in Russia would be under a higher level of scrutiny by their own intelligence services.”
Sounds official. But there is no actual forensic or documentary evidence (by that I mean actual corroborating intelligence reports) to back up these claims by our oxymoronically christened intelligence community.
Vladimir Putin ordered the hack? Where is the report? It is either in a piece of intercepted electronics communication and/or in a report derived from information provided by Mr. Smolenkov. Where is it? Why has that not been shared in public? Don't have to worry about exposing the source now. He is already in the open. What did he report? Answer–no direct evidence.
Then there is the lie that the Russians hacked the DNC. They did not. Bill Binney, a former Technical Director of the NSA, and I have written on this subject previously (see here) and there is no truth to this claim. Let me put it simply–if the DNC had been hacked by the Russians using spearphising (this is claimed in the Robert Mueller report) then the NSA would have collected those messages and would be able to show they were transferred to the Russians. That did not happen.
This kind of chaotic leaking about an old intel op is symptomatic of panic. CIA is already officially denying key parts of the story. My money is on John Brennan and Jim Clapper as the likely impetus for these reports. They are hoping to paint Trump as a national security threat and distract from the upcoming revelations from the DOJ Inspector General report on the FISA warrants and, more threatening, the decisions that Prosecutor John Durham will take in deciding to indict those who attempted to launch a coup against Donald Trump, a legitimately elected President of the United States.
blue peacock says
I’m always skeptical of NY Times and WaPo and CNN reporting on anything national security related. It seems there is always an axe to grind.
I don’t know why folks believe these media outlets have any credibility.
Larry Johnson says
Important to focus on the fact they are telling different and even contradictory stories. That’s confusion on the part of the deep state.
The fact that Mr. Smolenkov is out and about in his new home in the West shows that he is a small fish. As you say, if he was really in danger, he would be living somewhere in the West now under a new name and maybe a new face. The fact that his ‘handlers’ allow this lax security to happen is a sign of how unimportant he is. Unless, my inner cynic prompts, he is destined to become one of the “honoured dead,” perhaps by a false flag ‘liquidation.’
How low will Clapper and Brennan et. al. go?
Thanks for keeping this matter front and centre.
So the son of Our Man in Havana went to Moscow. It would make a decent movies if it weren’t for the damage Brennan and company have done to us. Obama, of course, knew nothing……
Diana C says
I have lost hope that anyone–especially Brennan and Clapper–will be held accountable for their attempt to “launch a coup” (as you put it).
Since their coup attempt ultimately failed, most people will be wanting just to move on.
As an unimportant citizen liveing in a fly-over state, I feel very angry that my tax dollars were wasted on these many government hearings and enormously expensive investigations rather than on actually on governing and improving the governing of our country.
The least we should be able to expect is that people who live off our tax dollars should be held accountable for all that wasted expense and for the lack of actual governing going on in The House and The Senate. So many problems that need the attention of our elected representative and Senators were ignored while elected representatives and representatives got to capture the spotlight and try to become “media stars” while accomplishing nothing.
I also feel terrible that men have been sent to prison for seemingly nothing and have their lives ruined for nothing but the chance of some to grand stand and claim they are really doing the jobs they were sent to do. So many people with no real sense of honor or of what is right and what is wrong.
Thanks, Larry. You have been consistently one of the good guys. (And I bet you are happy now that Yosemite Sam Bolton is no longer advising the POTUS.)
“The fact that his ‘handlers’ allow this lax security to happen is a sign of how unimportant he is.”
It indicates to me that he and any handlers believe that the Russians are OK with it. That could be for various reasons. But relying on Russian tolerance because he is a “small fish” seems incredibly trusting. Neither fled agents nor their handlers are known for their trusting natures. They have had some reasons stronger than that for their unconcern. Whether those reasons will survive publicity remains to be seen.
Are those CIA agents as stupid, naive & incompetent as you paint them to be?
If that’s the case our country is in real danger! You are. Pro Trump
and, you are basically defending him, but Putin do own Donald Trump,whether you like it or not!
My question is: why did they push this report now? Any way you cut it, the Times and Post are just providing some trivia and drivel. Without substance, they can accomplish nothing … and substance has been what’s been missing all along.
I doubt that Democrats, having been burned once, are eager to explore Brennan’s smoke and mirrors again. It’s never been a big concern to voters. And unless Brennan & Co. can do better than this superficial stuff, voters are never going to be concerned.
Maybe the Times and Post just felt sorry for Brennan, who’s been off barking at the moon for years now.
Have a cup of Ovomaltine.
…Smolenkov is a propaganda prop and is being trotted out by Brennan to try to provide public pressure to prevent the disclosure of intelligence that will show that the CIA and the NSA were coordinating and operating with British intelligence to entrap and smear Donald Trump and members of his campaign…
Well said. Thank you for following this closely and shining the light! You are an amazing American patriot, Mr. Larry C. Johnson. A glass in your honor!
I think AG Barr might have cut these guys (Brennan and Clapper) some slack and let them off the hook, but NOW, what can he do but prosecute??
Brennan has shown that he is going to persevere with his fallacious attacks on Trump come hell or high water.
He needs to be stopped and brought to justice…
Roy G says
IMO this scenario is the most plausible, Thanks for the sanity check. That said, given the desperation by these Sorcerer’s Apprentices, I would be on the lookout for Mr. Smolenkov lest he be ‘Skirpal-ed’ in the coming weeks.
This whole story convinces now more than ever before that there is a high level spy/mole in the us administration and intelligence community.The only question is it spying for russia or china or both.Just a beautiful thing to watch.Those knickers,must surely be in a knot by now.
Even rocketman had a giggle.
Jim Ticehurst says
How many CIA Assets have been exposed..Tortured and Murdered During The Barrack Obama Reign…In May..2014 HE Paid a Surprise Visit to Afghanastan..His White House Bureau Chief Sent out an email to Reporters with a List of Who would meet With President Obama..It Contained the NAME of the CIA…Chief of Station in Kabul…Now that is REAL MESSY..
Haha! Dream on. Barr IS CIA…remember his role back in the Slick WIlly days in Mena Arkansas?
What is the evidence for “Putin do own Trump?”Is it Trump’s attempts to conduct foreign policy relationships with Russia? That is his job.
Is there any basis for any of your assertions or are you just running your mouth?
As I told LJ yesterday while he was writing this piece I have a slightly different theory of this matter. It is true that CIA suffered for a long time from a dearth of talent in the business of recruiting and running foreign clandestine HUMINT assets. This was caused by a focus by several CIA Directors on technical collection means rather than espionage. This policy drove many skilled case officers into retirement but the situation has much improved in the last decade and it must be remembered that an agency only needs a few skilled case officers with the right access to human targets to acquire some very fine and useful well placed foreign agents (spies). IMO it is likely that CIA has/had several well placed Russian assets in Moscow of whom Smolenkov was probably the least useful and the most expendable. It may well be that Brennan was using the chicken feed provided by Smolenkov to fuel the conspiracy run by him and Clapper against Trump’s campaign and presidency, but Brennan left office and then the CIA under other management was faced with the problem of a Russian government which was told in the US press by implication that either the US had deep penetrations of Russian diplomatic and intelligence communications or that there were deep penetration moles in Moscow. that being the case it seems likely to me that the Russians would have been beating the bushes looking for the moles. In that situation the CIA may have decided to exfiltrate Smolenkov and his wife while leaving enough clues along the way that would have indicated that he might have been THE MOLE. People do not need a lot of encouragement to accept thoughts that they want to believe. A point in favor of this theory is that once CIA had him in the States they quickly lost interest in him, terminated their relationship with him and paid him his back pay and showed him the door. No new identity, no resettlement, he was given none of that. Finding himself alone in a strange land, Smolenkov then bought a house in the suburbs of Washington in HIS OWN NAME. Say what? That would not have happened if CIA had maintained some sort of relationship with him. And then… someone in CIA leaked the story of the exfiltration as movie plot to “a former senior intelligence officer” who gives sit to Sciutto at CNN. Why would they do that? IMO they would have though that having the story appear in the media would reinfocer Smolenkov’s importance in Russian minds. Well, pilgrims, Clapper fits the bill as the “former blah, blah”. He is an employee of CNN. CNN hates Trump and they quickly broadcast the story far and away. Unfortunately for CNN the story immediately began to disintegrate even in the eyes of the NY Times. The Smolenkov/Brennan affair will undoubtedly be part of the road that leads to doom for Brennan and Clapper but the possible CIA story is equally interesting.
… And what helps us to decode the plot!
David Habakkuk says
Having been away from base, I have not been able to comment on some very fascinating recent posts.
Both your recent pieces, and Robert Willman’s most helpful update on the state of play relating to the unraveling of the frame-up against Michael Flynn, have provided a lot to chew over.
Among other things, they have made me think further about the 302s recording the interviews with Bruce Ohr produced by Joseph Pientka – a character about whom I think we need to know more.
On reflection, I think that the picture that emerges of Ohr as an incurious and gullible nitwit, swallowing whole bucket loads of ‘horse manure’ fed him by Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson, may be a carefully – indeed maybe cunningly – crafted fiction.
The interpretation your former intelligence officer friend puts on the Smolenkov affair, and also some of what Sidney Powell has to say in the ‘’Motion to Compel’ on behalf of Flynn, both ‘mesh’ with what I have long suspected.
The dossier attributed to Steele, it has seemed to me, showed every sign of being the proverbial ‘camel produced by a committee.’
Although I know that fabricating evidence and corrupting judicial proceedings is part of its supposed author’s ‘stock in trade’, I think it is unclear whether he contributed all that much to the dossier.
His prime role, I think, was to contribute a veneer of intelligence respectability to a farrago the actual origins of which could not be acknowledged, so it could be used in support of FISA applications and in briefings to journalists.
Although it had started much earlier, the moving into ‘high gear’ of the conspiracy behind ‘Russiagate, of which the dossier was one manifestation, and the phone ‘digital forensics’ produced by ‘Crowdstrike’ and the former GCHQ person Matt Tait another, were I think essentially panicky ‘firefighting’ operations.
They are likely to have been responses, first, to the realisation that material leaked from the DNC was going to be published by WikiLeaks, and then the discovery, probably significantly later, that the source was Seth Rich, and his subsequent murder.
Although the operation to divert responsibility to the Russians which then became necessary was strikingly successful, it did not have the expected result of saving Hillary Clinton from defeat.
What I then think may have emerged was a two-pronged strategy.
Part of this involved turning the conspiracy to prevent Trump being elected into a conspiracy to destabilise his Presidency and ensure he did not carry through on any of his ‘anti-Borgist’ agenda.
In different ways, both the framing of Flynn, and the final memorandum in the dossier, dated 13 December 2016, were part of this strategy.
Also required however was another ‘insurance policy’ – which was what the Bruce Ohr 302s were intended to provide.
The purpose of this was to have ‘evidence’ in place, should the first prong of the strategy run into problems, to sustain the case that people in the FBI and DOJ, and Bruce and Nellie Ohr in particular, were not co-conspirators with Steele and Simpson, but their gullible dupes.
This brings me to an irony. Some people have tried to replace the ‘narrative’ in which Steele was an heroic exposer of a Russian plot to destroy American democracy by an alternative in which he was the gullible ‘patsy’ of just such a plot.
In fact there is one strand, and one strand only, in the dossier which smells strongly to me of FSB-orchestrated disinformation.
Some of the material on Russian cyber operations, including critically the suggestions about the involvement of Aleksej Gubarev and his company XBT which provoked legal action by these against BuzzFeed and Steele, look to me as though they could come from sources in the FSB.
But, if this is so, the likely conduit is not through Steele, but from FSB to FBI cyber people.
How precisely this worked is unclear, but I cannot quite get rid of the suspicion that Major Dmitri Dokuchaev just might be serving out his sentence for treason in a comfortable flat somewhere above the Black Sea. Indeed, I can imagine a lecture to FSB trainees on how to make ‘patsies’ of people like the Ohrs.
If this is so, however, it mat also be the case that these are attempting to make ‘patsies’ of Steele and Simpson.
This is off-topic. But I saw this political ad on my Twitter feed so it must be going viral. Very well done in my opinion. With a nice spook twist.
J. J. Angleton supposedly almost destroyed the CIA in his search for a mole. While not a lot of useful Russian books get translated into English, I understand that the FRS maintains a good translation service for its decision makers. I don’t know how susceptible to American style BS the CI sections of the FRS IC are. They have had a lot longer history at CI and mole hunting than the USA.
You are dealing with someone not educated in big vs everyday politics. Who admittedly got tired by now of the whole Russiagate vs Clinton/Obamagate discussion.
Thus, I may misread: “phone ‘digital forensics’ produced by ‘Crowdstrike’”??
Do you believe that Trump and Barr have the integrity and courage to actually disclose the origins and scheme of “Russia Collusion”? And then hold Brennan, Clapper and Comey accountable?
Unfortunately I don’t. The institutional pressure to bury it all will be too great. IMO, Trump hatred have driven the Democrats and half the country mad and blind. This is going to bite them in the ass in the future when the Republicans do something even worse or a small coterie in law enforcement and the intel agencies play kingmaker. Clean up may require a complete tear down of these agencies.
The Twisted Genius says
Jim, The CIA suffered a near extermination of their assets in Iran and China between 2009 and 2013. This was primarily due to a lazy reliance on an internet and web-based communication system used with far too many resident agents. This system was developed for use with what I consider as low level source operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and was never meant for long-term sources and denied areas like China, Russia and Iran. I hope heads rolled at CIA HQ over this disaster.
In my opinion the internet and cell phones have had a devastating effect on clandestine tradecraft. I’m glad we didn’t have this technology when I was practicing the craft. We even stayed away from phones of all types and credit cards back then. Now that would be alerting behavior. In addition to running resident agents and legal travelers, I had a stable of support agents like couriers and accommodation addresses. They were high maintenance and totally lacking in glamor, but absolutely necessary.
David Habakkuk says
Apologies for failure to proofread.
When I wrote ‘phone’, I meant to write ‘phoney.’
That said, if Americans find a conspiracy to subvert constitutional government not really very interesting, the prospects of their continuing to enjoy the benefits of such government for very long do not seem bright.
Moreover, part of the problem is precisely that questions to do with the subversion of the Constitution have got tangled up with questions to do with the relative merits and demerits of Trump versus Hillary Clinton, and Trump versus Obama.
There has never been a guarantee that constitutional government will necessarily produce the best governors.
What it quite often does is create a situation where people can accept the prospect of losing, both because they recognise the outcome as fairly arrived at, and because they believe it can be reversed, and because they do not see it as a catastrophic threat.
It is precisely these fundamental preconditions for minimising the — omnipresent — cut-throat elements in politics which people like the Ohrs, Strzok, and Pientka, with behind them, among others Brennan, Clapper and Comey, have threatened.
This is why they, together with their British co-conspirators, including Steele, Dearlove and Hannigan, these people remain very materially more dangerous than Trump.
blue peacock says
Epstein being “suicided” out in the open is Exhibit A to what lengths the powerful will go and how they can act with impunity. To believe in the few rotten apples but the heroic rank & file is to believe the narrative spun by the meisters.
Ben Hunt says it well in “I’m a Superstitious Man”.
” I’m a superstitious man, and if some unlucky accident should befall him — if he should get shot in the head by a police officer, or if he should hang himself in his jail cell, or if he’s struck by a bolt of lightning — then I’m going to blame some of the people in this room.” – Vito Corleone, “The Godfather” (1972)
I think the whole IC needs a “tear down” and re-build. That and the need tp prosecute the conspiratprs in Russiagate probab;y requires more guts than Barr and Trump have. This will probably all end up on the “too hard to do pile.”
Jim Ticehurst says
TTG…Thank you for your Comments..I enjoy all your Input here..I once Commented here recently about the Alternative Sources that Gen.Petraeus brought over to CIA that were used in the Field In Iraq..I read they had been Hacked By Iran and China even then..I imagine The Russians too..My question then was…Who advised The general then to Use That Line for Communications..Did He make the Decision himself Because He trusted It..????People at he Agency then should have known better and told Him so..Especially Cryptologists..And Why..after all those Years..WHY didn’t He Know it had been hacked ,,,and Was NOT Secure..??…I spent a long time talking to someone who had been with the Agency in Viet Nam..Who was on the ROOF Tops..trying to get His Assets out up to the Last Minute..and One of the Last to Leave..He remained with The Agency..at Various Stationsd around the World..Until Democratic Senator Frank Church..from Idaho..began His Senate Select Committee Hearings in 1975…To “Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Gathering…”which Dismanteled All Our Government Intelligence Agencys…The NSA…and The FBI…My CIA Friend has Is Cover Blown…Assets were Killed…and He had to Come Home to Langley..His Cubicle was not Far from that of Aldrich Ames..The Agent on the Russian Desk at Langley…who sold out to the Russians..He displayed a remarkable Change in His Lifestyle..( Aldrich) His Apperance..His Spending and Use of His Credit Card..It went Unnoticed nd Ignored..for a Long Time..Until Many of Our Assets in Russia had been Killed..(Agent Robert Hanssen..at FBI was doing the Same) My friend was a strong Believer in Cyber Security..Communication Security..Not ZHoarding Massive Piles of Paper Work In Station..And Believed in The “Burn Bag” almost Dying in Nam flying around with Air America ..and His Burn Bag on His Lap…He also believed in the Courier System..and did that Frequently for the Then DCI…There is a lot of Shit To Shovel..in Government..and I Hope The United States will No Longer keep Talking about a Swamp..Its been a Pig Pen..and Its time to Make Bacon…
David Habakkuk says
I cannot calculate how Trump, Barr and Durham are going to play this. And I am, rather obviously, not disposed to count chickens before they are hatched.
However, I think you may be looking in the wrong place.
What is happening in the civil courts may be the most interesting area.
Reading Robert Willman’s piece has confirmed my suspicion that Michael Flynn is not, as it were, the brightest button in the sewing box.
In his shoes, just about the last people I would have chosen to represent me are Covington & Burling.
Obviously, Sidney Powell is a quite unfamiliar name. But the ‘Motion to Compel’ looks rather good to me.
And then, we have the cases in which Ty Clevenger and Steven S. Biss are acting.
The pair have represented Ed Butowsky in the actions he has brought against David Folkenflik and Michael Gottlieb, as well as, in both cases, their media co-conspirators. Among these are CNN.
Subsequently, Biss has acted in the case that Svetlana Lokhova has brought against Stefan Halper and his media co-conspirators. And, most recently, he has filed the complaint which Devin Nunes has brought against Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson, and – what is it called?! – the ‘Campaign for Accountability.’
A lot of material which Clevenger and Biss have produced looks very good to me, but there are also quite important matters on which I think they may be on the wrong track.
Be that as it may, it seems to me that it may be in a coming together of the efforts of such people with veneration for the majesty of law which still clearly survives among some American judges that our best hopes now lie.
But, in a contest with Goliath, David really does need help – both intellectual and material. This means that the invaluable work Clevenger and Biss and those for whom they are acting have done has to be publicised, and also that they can get more support, both intellectual and financial.
It also means that, when they are on the wrong track, it needs to be pointed out.
Founders assumed men would do evil things. Men using the powers of government would be doubly dangerous. Therefore, what system of governance could best mitigate both these truths.
Not eliminate evil, nor deprive any man, no matter how evil the charges agains him, his hallowed due process rights.
There is comfort right now, as we watch the unraveling of the last siege attempted by evil men, that we chose an effective, tri-partate, checks and balance system of governance.
(Make your own gender choices that work best for you.)
Haldeman, Mitchell, Ehrlicman, Dean, Colson , etc…….. the beat goes on. Some government officials did go to prison, when it was found they had subverted the laws of our land.
What did Obama know, and when did he know it.
Well there it is,you have said something that i thought about but have never mentioned because i am basically not privy to much.This.after the vietnam war agents were sent to the west by communist goverments.Between say 1976 to 1980 to infiltrate long term.That is a project over a long period 40-50 years.The 4 year window of opportunity.All immigration over that period needs to be checked.Especially the us,australia and other us allies.
the infiltration started with the professors like Leo Strauss who were Trots and members of the Frankfurt School
English Outsider says
Mr Habakkuk – is it premature to add to that – what did Mr Cameron/Mrs May know and when did they know it?
Barbara Ann says
If Epstein really is dead, rather than simply ‘gone’ it is because he was an insufficiently superstitious man. In his position, I would have been extraordinarily superstitious and have made all concerned very much aware of the grave consequences (for them) of my having an unlucky accident.
Yep,frank and kraut on roll with seeded mustard and green tomato relish.That European school has been replaced by anti intellectual greedy predators.The Shark school.You must know that for a rolling stone to point out how uncivil society has become…….
Jim Ticehurst says
Ah yes..Professor Strauss..1939”from Germany..Went to Chicago..where all Communist..and Marxists..go to Get Recruited..Indoctrinated.Infiltrate Our Universitys and Colleges…or to Die and have their Ashes sent to Moscow….
”What is happening in the civil courts may be the most interesting area.”
I agree. But..I wonder if that will provide the deterrence necessary to prevent future abuse of power? Would it have the same effect compared to if Trump declassified & disclosed all the materials and Barr convened a grand jury to hear testimony?
In the absence of any action by the President and the executive branch he runs the only remaining option are the courts and specifically judges not intimidated by the national security apparatus. In this context I’m particularly interested in the proceedings in Judge Sullivan’s court as he has been through the Stevens case where he called out prosecutorial misconduct. It would seem to me that the DOJ, loath to produce the Brady materials requested by Flynn’s new counsel may be willing to risk contempt and the dismissal of the prosecution. I believe the institutional instinct to protect the egregious actions and actors in directly intervening in a presidential election will be very high.
I’m not familiar enough with the cases that Clevenger and Biss are litigating, Where do you believe they are on the wrong track?
I am very intrigued by the case brought forward by Devin Nunes as he must have immense knowledge of many facets of the whole operation and could potentially lay some embarrassing landmines in specific discovery requests. Do you have any opinions on where this case could lead as Fusion GPS seems to have played an important clearinghouse role?
Every decent non-corporate journalist has established that there was no Russian collusion, and in fact no Russian influence on our election. We, on the other hand, interfere with most elections around the globe on a regular basis.
Pretty much the conclusion put forth by the aurhor of of Legacy of Ashes and what he saw was the make-work role of the CIA today – if that was a valid assessment or just a disgruntled hit job. A work force in search of a mission.
blue peacock says
Yes, indeed. An automatic release of a cache of incriminating evidence including videos, photos, and recordings. Heck, even a confession on tape naming names.
In any case this was the most expected “suicide” and conveniently the guards were asleep and the hallway video camera malfunctioned and so did the camera in the cell. And then there was the psychologist who determined he didn’t need to be under suicide watch. And his previous cell mate was removed.
Of course his prosecution has also ended. And his victims can go after his estate while his partners in crime can quietly slink away.
Aint it all nicely done and wrapped with a bow tie? As Ben Hunt notes: They’re.Not.Even.Pretending.Anymore.
Seamus Padraig says
David Habakkuk says
A ‘clearinghouse role’ is precisely what I think Fusion played.
The way the cover-up seems to me to be moving is to attempt to disguise the fact that much of the material being cleared was provided either by, or with the connivance of, intelligence/law enforcement agencies, by suggesting that the FBI/DOJ were duped by Simpson and Steele.
This strategy is not being challenged by the ‘Complaint’ which Biss has filed on behalf of Nunes.
The history of the dossier attributed to Steele provided in this dovetails very neatly with that suggested by the Ohr/Pientka 302s.
This, I am arguing, may have been a mixture of fact and fiction, carefully crafted so that, should the dossier and the uses to which it was put come seriously into question, blame could be deflected to Simpson and Steele.
A plea of credulity could be used to cover up collusion in a – palpably treasonous – conspiracy.
What I am not in a position to judge is why the ‘Complaint’ accepts this deflection of blame, apparently without question.
It is perfectly possible that Nunes and Biss have genuinely fallen for the diversion strategy – a lot of people seem to have done so.
If that is the case, then unless convincing arguments can be deployed to demonstrate that my suspicions are unfounded, it would be a good thing if they could be encouraged to at least consider the possibility that Ohr is a blackguard pretending to be a bumbler.
However, even if Nunes and Biss are either alert to this possibility now, or become so in the future, they might still think it made sense to fall in with the cover-up.
This, however, could be for two quite different reasons. It might be that they are not seriously interesting in exposing the full extent of the corruption within the upper echelons of American, and British, intelligence agencies.
In a sense, these may be protected by the extremity of their offences. There are genuine risks, and costs, involved in exposing top-level incompetence and corruption of the magnitude involved here.
Alternatively, Nunes and Biss could want to do this, but believe that the unmasking is best done on a step-by-step basis, in particular by, as you put it, laying ‘some embarrassing landmines in specific discovery requests.’
If I was in their shoes, this might well seem to me the most promising strategy.
Whatever game Nunes and Biss are playing, however, there are already quite enough requests for document by them and others, either already made, or clearly in the pipeline, for the problems in keeping skeletons in cupboards to be quite formidable.
This may – or may not , make the credibility of the diversion strategy hard to sustain.
Some interesting questions here relate to the disavowal of Steele that the then British National Security Adviser, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, sent to Flynn shortly after the publication of the dossier.
This may however be another of those cases where the equivocal nature of much of the evidence can be exploited by the conspirators.
Context is, as so often, indispensable to understanding what can, and cannot, legitimately be inferred from this disavowal. It seems clear that the publication of the dossier took Steele and the British authorities by surprise, and was extremely unwelcome.
There was then a behind-the-scenes struggle about whether to use him as ‘patsy’, or stand by him. This was eventually resolved, clearly as a result of discussions between key intelligence people on both sides of the Atlantic, in favour of the latter option.
The Lyall Grant letter was written before this decision was taken. Why Flynn did not make use of it has always baffled me. In the new situation which has arisen, however, precisely the fact that it can be used to exonerate him may make it easier for corrupt people on both sides of the Atlantic to use Steele and Simpson as ‘patsies.’
It is material here that Gubarev’s case against Steele is due to be heard in the High Court at some point in the relatively near future. A relevant question may be whether he is prepared to be used as a ‘patsy’ – and whether he has any realistic alternative.
Also interesting here is the portrayal of Smolenkov as a key source for the dossier in recent news reports. A problem, however, is that this would appear to suggest that Steele was being used as a ‘diversion’, for material originating from the CIA. It is not immediately clear how you can use Smolenkov in an attempt to suggest that the claims about a ‘Putin plot’ were well-founded, without implicating Brennan et al in the dossier.
David Habakkuk says
All these questions need to be asked. And so far there are far more indications of serious curiosity on the American side than the British.
However, they need to be discussed in conjunction with an exploration of the ‘backstory’ of collaboration in support of a range of covert agendas which is another of the things which the Ohr/Pientka 302s are designed to obfuscate.
News articles show that ol Oleg Smolenkov had the Agency footing just under $1 Million dollars for his new U.S. crib in Virginia. Just imagine if the Agency treated their own agents and case officers with Million dollar cribs, they’d never want to retire.
An NBC article said that now that Oleg’s crib’s location in known, they’d probably be moving him out of it and to a new location for what they called ‘his personal safety’ reasons.
Will the Agency put Oleg’s current digs up for sale, and will we as taxpayers who footed the bill get our money back?
DH, Nellie Hauke Ohr is the child of university professor(s) hired during the expansion of the public higher education system in the 50s and 60s. She is a highly intelligent and conscientious person who received a merit admit to Harvard U in the late 70s. She is fluent in the Russian language and has degrees in Russian history. I assume that she is smart enough to know what she is doing and why in the context of the work of a CIA asset/agent. She may have been a ‘dupe’, but I wouldn’t rule out ‘informed participant’ stuck in a hard place after Hillary lost, either. How likely it is that a CIA asset who is married to the director of the USA DOJ organized crime and drug enforcement task force where he recruited Russian informants would be conned by an MI6 agent with a very long visible resume who is sharing obvious bullsh!t paid for by a political campaign that the CIA asset supports?
RE: Nellie Ohr’s prior intellectual history: Never underestimate what the hormonal shifts during menopause does to a woman’s brain, emotionality and former executive level critical thinking processes. This is a serious comment; not just a low brow joke.
The Twisted Genius says
J, a million dollars is not at all unusual for an agent of this caliber. His final bonus alone could have been a million dollars. Add to that his salary for being an agent for ten years and the Smolenkovs are a wealthy family. He most likely bought that house on his own although I’m sure the CIA advised against settling in true name so close to DC.
Seems I most likely lost an interesting neighbor. The Smolenkov family moved out of the house hastily on Monday. Too bad, one of his neighbors said Oleg was looking forward to caring for his expansive lawn and gardens in all his free time.
The Twisted Genius says
Jim, the IC was consumed by the “capture, kill” mentality of counterterrorism after 9/11. Clandestine tradecraft took a huge hit. When I first sent one of my young collectors to Iraq, he told me no one was using cover of any kind in their operations. He started doing so, as I trained him to, and he had great success in his operations. He was an Arabic linguist so he didn’t have to rely on local translators.
I remember when we got word of the arrest of Aldrich Ames. Our headquarters back at Meade panicked and ordered a stand down of all our Russian operations. I ran our Russia team in Germany at the time. Over the next few months most of our agents were scheduled to surface throughout Europe. I wrote back to Meade that this stand down was a monumentally stupid idea. Our agents read the news and were sure to be apprehensive at the least over their safety. I advised meeting these agents as scheduled to determine their status and mindset. Meade was more worried about our security and safety. I countered that this was bullshit. The worse that could happen to us was being exposed by a turned agent. Failing to meet an apprehensive agent could cause them to run or turn themselves into their police, a far worse outcome than any potential exposure of our identities. Luckily, Meade agreed to my plan to meet the agents and employ heavy counter-surveillance during each of the meetings. In the end, our agents and operations remained intact. And the heavy counter-surveillance operations we mounted as a team were tremendous training and team building opportunities. Good times.
Mark Logan says
I’ll suggest that Steele was just an ex-intell guy trying to make a buck by delivering dirt on political figures to opponents. He was originally hired by McCain to dig the dirt on Trump. When McCain dropped out Hillary picked up the tab, but then did not use any of his stuff during her campaign. It is said she didn’t because it was shaky info at best and IMO she felt she didn’t need it.
I think LE would have ignored it too, had not Trump and many of his people lied about their foreign contacts. I attribute the lying to habit, they are business people and shady ones at that. They were ignorant of the ramifications of lying about foreign contacts as politicians, or as people working directly for politicians.
I’m pretty sure that when all these “conspirators” are given a chance to defend themselves that is what they will say, anyway, and it’s entirely plausible. When high (or even low ranking) politicians lie about their foreign contacts what choice does LE have but to investigate?
I don’t think that Trump is working for Putin, and I don’t think the FBI is a bastion of liberals looking to install Hillary as POTUS either. The only likely outcome of “proving” that Trump is compromised after being elected POTUS would be the installation of Pence as POTUS.
I suppose this makes me a skunk at everybody’s picnic. So be it.
This whole thing smelled of a dangle,the SVR was probably laughing their asses off at the Agency being so gullible.
The Twisted Genius says
What makes this look like a dangle? Other than your near religious belief that Russia doesn’t engage in espionage and IO activities like most other nations. Russia just put out a request to Interpol to locate Smolenkov in the US. That’s a lot of trouble for someone they just said was little more than a coffee boy with no access.
English Outsider says
It’s not a particularly enjoyable picnic but you’re no skunk, Mr Logan. Here’s what you say –
“I’ll suggest that Steele was just an ex-intell guy..”
Yes. Ex UK Intelligence. He ran the “Russia Desk” in London, shades of le Carre an’ all.
He didn’t retire to grow roses. He went freelance after leaving. Such people are kept a close eye on. Obvious reasons.
He got himself mixed up in – some say caused – a mighty scandal over in America. Could have been just one of those things. He could just have escaped normal checks and been operating solo. Loose canons everywhere so why not Steele?
Why not? Here’s why not. His work caused grave embarrassment to a US president. All heavily political. Had he truly been just a loose canon he would have been outed as such and disavowed instantly by HMG.
He was not. He was never disavowed but instead was provided with a “safe house” – more le Carre – until the thing blew over. He hasn’t been disavowed since. The BBC, which in such cases as this has been more or less a mouthpiece for HMG since Dr Kelly, reported as if Steele’s work was to be taken seriously and as far as I know continues to do so. Sir Richard Dearlove stated publicly that Steele’s work was 70% accurate and that was as close to a disavowal as official sources got. Semi-official, more accurately, and that statement more like an endorsement than a disavowal.
It’s the dog that didn’t bark, Mr Logan. The scenario of an “ex-intell guy” going solo like that in the middle of a hotly contested American Presidential election doesn’t fit what happened. Never did.
Jim Ticehurst says
TTG,,,Thanks,,Sounds like you are good at what You do…and..Have Good Instincts…Which I find Valuable..
I’m in agreement with you that the explanation they’re coming up with, while throwing a lot of sand in the gears, is that they would have been derelict if they didn’t investigate this as a counter-intelligence matter. They are spending a lot of effort in obfuscating the central role of US and British intelligence. IMO, the Smolenkov leak and narrative is just to add more smoke, to cloud the role of the national security apparatus in this sordid affair.
The one problem with this for the public is the complexity. The number of moving parts to the story. It is easy for the average person to have their head spin with all the different threads. A question that has intrigued me greatly is if it was all orchestrated including the attempted cover-up. Or was it all organic with Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Hannigan all responding on their own on a basic axis?
A request to Interpol is not “… a lot of trouble.” It might be 10 minutes of a secretary’s time to fill out a form or two. They might care, they might not care but not doing anything would be even more “danglicious” than making an Interpol request. Pro forma and the Russians are a punctilious lot.
English Outsider says
You can imagine this outsider struggling to keep up. And failing. As “Jack” says below – ” It is easy for the average person to have their head spin with all the different threads.” But below –
” It seems clear that the publication of the dossier took Steele and the British authorities by surprise, and was extremely unwelcome.
There was then a behind-the-scenes struggle about whether to use him as ‘patsy’, or stand by him. This was eventually resolved, clearly as a result of discussions between key intelligence people on both sides of the Atlantic, in favour of the latter option.”
But that would have been done without the knowledge of President Trump? Or of the UK PM?
These “key intelligence people” must have thought they could walk on water to keep something like that under wraps. And there is still the question of how high it did go on the UK side.
It is irksome that UK Intelligence should be put to this sort of use. Shouldn’t they be counting warheads or something?
blue peacock says
“He was originally hired by McCain to dig the dirt on Trump. When McCain dropped out Hillary picked up the tab,..”
McCain wasn’t a candidate in the 2016 primary.
you feel its more then hystics? Now I am surely no Freudian.
No joke. But yes it can get you into troubles, since as life it seems to be complex.
curious. Have to look up the history of Ovomaltine, which I always assumed was a Swiss product. Malt and all …
Larry Johnson says
Smolenkov is a nobody. If he actually was a person of substance the CIA would be taking him to the Farm regularly to instruct new CIA recruits. That has not happened.
Larry Johnson says
A really ignorant, uninformed comment. You state, “Trump and many of his people lied about their foreign contacts.” Really? What is your evidence of that?
If General Flynn is one of the people you have in mind, he did not lie. Even the FBI agents who interviewed him in wrote that up after their interview. McCabe changed the 302 to imply otherwise and Flynn was pressured to plead guilty to a violation of FARA. Nothing Flynn did in conversing with the Russian Ambassador was illegal or wrong. To assert otherwise is to reveal your own ignorance of how foreign policy is conducted.
Just saying Nellie Ohr’s prior intellectual credentials can be just as suspect as Christopher Steele’s fomer UK spy agency credibility. If he can flip to the dark side for whatever personal motivations, why not Nellie?
Mark Logan says
The lies are google-able especially Flynn’s, and Manafort several are about to or are already serving time for lying about their contacts, among other things. Do you still believe NYC meeting was about adopting kids?? The list is long. That they lied is irrefutable.
Larry Johnson says
For Christ’s sake. Are you really this obtuse? “Google”? Boy, there’s a source of authority. Pay attention. First, please cite the specific “lies”, which you originally claimed all the Trump people did. Flynn did not lie. He pled to not being a registered foreign agent, which was bullshit. It was a set up. He did not lie about his conversations with the Russian Ambassador.
Second, re the NYC meeting? I am assuming you are referring to the meeting with Veselnitskaya. Donald Trump Jr. didn’t say it was “about adopting kids.” He testified that he took the meeting because he was told the people coming in had dirt on Hillary. Getting such information is not illegal. You don’t even have the courtesy to read the Mueller report and what he said about it.
I have zero patience for your kind of blind stupidity. If you are mentally handicapped or have a learning disability then I will cut you some slack. But if you are possessed of normal intelligence there is no excuse for you to push these blatant lies.
The Twisted Genius says
Larry, you got what Flynn pled guilty to backwards. He did not plead guilty to his activities with Turkey violating FARA. He did plead guilty about lying to the FBI about his conversations with Kislyak. The DOJ charge sheet, statement of charges and plea deal are available through Google. You’re usually not that sloppy.
Mark Logan says
Here’s an account of the shifting explanations given by the Trump’s for the meeting:
Ad-hominem indicates a lack of confidence.
There has been an outbreak of personal attacks on SST. If this continues the ultimate penalty that you may pay is my abandonment of the log.
It appears their INTERPOL request (coming from the Foreign Ministry not their Intel) was related to the initial paperwork caused when Oleg and brood disappeared in Montenegro back in 2017 and their subsequent initial criminal investigation opened as to the brood’s disappearance. The Russians are just like U.S., their left hand doesn’t know what their right hand is doing. FM vs Intel. LOL, punctilious ain’t the half of it, LOL. Smolenkov is an embarrassment to their FM section, while their Intel sections are smirking.
Smolenkov reminds me of a worm on a hook, the bait is put on the hook, and it is cast out to see where it goes and what’s biting. Then the fishing expedition goes from there. Smolenkov was as our POTUS so frequently says, “YOU’RE FIRED!” is what transpired with Smolenkov when he was under Russian Ambassador Yuri Ushakov. The Russians knew that there were plays under the table afoot to undermine POTUS with the fake Russia-Gate, and probably saw it was good time for a fishing expedition to see where the bait goes, and how far up the food-chain the fake Russia-Gate went.
The SVR boyz know the Agency is trolling, so they fix a bait and see where it goes. Like I said, Smolenkov has the odor of a dangle that the Agency bit, and has been paying for ever since. If Smolenkov had any real value, the Russians would have performed one of their snatch-n-grabs.
I accept your conclusion.
If I may with your permission, I’ll get on my little soap-box for a brief minute.
We can never (MUST never) underestimate the Russian SVR/GRU/FSB. To do so will spell our undoing. The CIA aka Agency IMO should have been closed down many many years ago, and a meaner and leaner Intelligence capability put in its place. I see the CIA as a place today where ice-castles form, trouble is the heat is on and their ice-castles will melt at the wrong time for our nation. DIA should absorb CIA, and then go through everything cleaning house thoroughly. There needs to be an IC oversight set up over any new set up as to preclude it from ever becoming so bloated as we see the CIA today. Again this is all my personal opinion and outlook.
One of the problems has been that our once strong Russian capabilities of our IC was gutted under different Presidencies to preclude our nation knowing what the Israelis were really up to. One must remember that Israel today is really in many ways nothing more than a post-eastern-European mafia. Many Russian mobsters fled to Israel and are today still in Israel. The Russians keep a close eye on them, and with good reason, they almost gutted Russia’s resources before Putin and company (nationalists) put a stop to it. Our Russian linguistic capabilities were gutted, as understanding Russian was not politically correct under different Presidencies.
Russian Intelligence understand all too well that they can’t afford to make a serious mistake like they did pre-WWII, as it cost them dearly as a result. That is why today we see Russian Intelligence more aggressive, their national survival depends on it in their eyes. And they have a point in many ways based on history.
Now I’ll step off my little soap-box and wish everyone a good weekend.
Larry Johnson says
This is what the House Intel Committee reported:
“The unredacted portion of the report, written by Republicans on the panel, details testimony from former FBI Director James Comey and his then-deputy, Andrew McCabe. The report says McCabe, in particular, testified that the two agents who interviewed Flynn “didn’t think he was lying.”
Despite the agents’ initial impressions, McCabe reportedly testified that officials found that Flynn’s statements to investigators were “inconsistent” with their “understanding of the conversation that he had actually had with the ambassador.”
You obviously have not read all of the briefs and legal filings in this case. I have. The real pressure they brought on him was over the alleged FARA violation. You know, if you are being honest, as well as I do that a conversation between Flynn and the Russian Ambassador was NOT illegal nor inappropriate. The real question you ought to ask is why was the US intelligence illegally listening in on the conversation of an incoming national security advisor? No justification for this whatsoever.
Larry Johnson says
No lack of confidence here. Just frustration over your preference for outdated, unverified press articles vice the actual findings by Mueller.
Here’s a couple of relevant paragraphs:
On June 9, 2016, senior representatives of the Trump Campaign met in Trump Tower with
a Russian attorney expecting to receive derogatory information about Hillary Clinton from the
Russian government. The meeting was proposed to Donald Trump Jr. in an email from Robert
Goldstone, at the request of his then-client Emin Agalarov, the son of Russian real-estate developer
Aras Agalarov . Goldstone relayed to Trump Jr. that the “Crown prosecutor of Russia … offered
to provide the Trump Campaign with some official documents and information that would
incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia” as “part of Russia and its government ‘s support
for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. immediately responded that “if it ‘s what you say I love it,” and arranged
the meeting through a series of emails and telephone calls.
Trump Jr. invited campaign chairman Paul Manafort and senior advisor Jared Kushner to
attend the meeting, and both attended. Members of the Campaign discussed the meeting before it
occurred, and Michael Cohen recalled that Trump Jr. may have told candidate Trump about an
upcoming meeting to receive adverse information about Clinton , without linking the meeting to
Russia. According to written answers submitted by President Trump, he has no recollection of
learning of the meeting at the time, and the Office found no documentary evidence showing that he
was made aware of the meeting–or its Russian connection-before it occurred.
Your continued refusal to acknowledge the actual findings of Mueller and your insistence of repeating media memes raises questions in my mind about your real intentions. Trolling?
The Twisted Genius says
Larry, surely you’re not surprised that USI was listening to the Russian Ambassador’s conversations. Flynn should have also realized this and just admitted to what he discussed. I don’t think his talking with Kislyak was inappropriate at all. It makes it all the more perplexing that he would lie about the nature of those conversations. As for Flynn’s ability to project sincerity to the FBI agents, kudos to him. All those years as a GO prepared him well. Too bad his sincere answers didn’t match up with the transcripts of his conversations with Kislyak.
Larry Johnson says
And USI has NO RIGHT to listen in on the Flynn part of the conversation. There was nothing illegal, immoral or unethical about it. I find it sickening that you so cavalierly accept this kind of breach of an American citizen’s constitutional right. And you don’t know what the “transcripts” say. Have not been released. But it is telling that his lawyer wants them released and the FBI is balking. You’re a keen analyst. What does that tell you?
Mark Logan says
I believe you haven’t grasped my point, which was that LE will surely say they were justified in conducting an investigation on the Trumps because the Trumps (and by that I include the Trump campaign) lied about their foreign contacts. They did so both publicly and privately to authorities.
Here’s a synopsis of some of the items in the Mueller report which documents some of the misleading statements the Trump campaign made to authorities.
Cohen, et al.
So it was legal to speak with the ambassador however when speaking to the FBI weeks later his words did not match word for word with the transcript of the conversation – accroding to the FBI, or at least those who overrulled the agents’ interpretation of the conversation. Therefor “he lied”. What was the probable cause for this investigation of Flynn? Who “unmaked” Flynn since he wasn’t a target of the USI listening to the Russian ambassador? What was the lawfull reason for that unmasking? Was that directed by President Obama (since he warned Trump against making him National Security Advisor) or something done by someone in the administration like Samantha Power, who didn’t always follow instructions, as noted in her vote at the UN (or is that all just a campaign of plausable deniability with her as the fall girl):
Larry Johnson says
I fully grasp that you are opining about things you really lack substantive knowledge of. If you’ve actually read the Mueller report (which I doubt), you would note that the initiative for the Trump Tower Moscow came from Felix Sater. Sater was an FBI informant. In other words, it was the FBI trying to entrap Trump over a Moscow Deal. You clearly are okay with that kind of law enforcement misconduct. I’m not. It is wrong.
When you total up the number of Confidential Informants that were used by the FBI and other elements of intelligence communities in the UK and the US, there is no doubt that an illegal covert op to destroy Trump was attempted. Thank God the clown show at the FBI and CIA were staffed by people of limited talent and smarts.
William McQuaid says
WaPo repeats falsehoods:
…intelligence agencies were “confident that the Russian Government directed” the hacking campaign. . .
Confident because DNC servers were destroyed allowing (confidence) falsehoods from CIA, etc.
But Bill Binney, NSA top expert and whistle blower proves their “confidence” was a lie:
Thanks, Bill. Thanks, Jimmy.
The Twisted Genius says
Here’s the DOJ statement of offenses which Flynn signed as being accurate under penalty of perjury. He wasn’t talking about buying a set of used tires. I can see why the FBI was interested in whoever was talking to the Russian Ambassador about policy actions. The most alerting thing I see in this document is the account of Flynn talking with members of Trump’s transition team. What authorized that? He must have been the target of an investigation by that time for that to occur.
Did it escape your notice that Flynn was on the transition team, that’s fact #1 on the statement? Who forbade the president elect from indicating to other nations that Trump was opposed to the Egyptian UNSC resolution, which is item 4? Best of all is the reference to the investigation into Russian interference in the election. I believe Mueller proved there was none.
The Twisted Genius says
Fred, I wasn’t clear in my last comment. I meant what authorized the collection of Flynn’s conversations with other members of the transition team. That certainly isn’t a routine collection target. That’s why I assume he must have been the target of an active investigation at that time. The prudent thing for Flynn to do was to wait a month when when he would have been fully authorized to conduct foreign policy on behalf of the USG. Or he could have just not lied about his conversations to the FBI agents.
As for the Mueller report, it made emphatically clear that Russia engaged in “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election.” Volume I of his report focused exclusively on that point. His indictments of the IRA and GRU 12 did the same.
Larry Johnson says
TTG, no offense intended, but you’re an intel guy. What was the predicate crime? There was not one. This was a political hit job manufactured by the Obama Administration. Take a good look at the discovery Flynn’s lawyer is demanding. FBI is holding that back because it will torch their crooked ass. Why are you so willing to give those lying assholes the benefit of the doubt?
There was no legal reason to target and unmask Flynn. Every thing he was doing with the Russians and other countries on the UNSC was entirely legal. Obama is a goddamn traitor and should be in jail for this abuse of power.
The Twisted Genius says
Larry, Flynn was under a counterintelligence investigation until late December 2016. I don’t know what triggered it or if it even had anything to do with the broader Russia investigation. It was not a criminal investigation.
David Habakkuk says
About the complexity, you are I think in large measure right.
As to how it was organised, what I suspect happened was a bizarre mixture of the ‘orchestrated’ and ‘organic.’ It would seem likely that the central driving force was Brennan.
However, this was not simply centrally directed.
And it seems to me clear that when the discovery that materials from the DNC had been leaked to ‘WikiLeaks’ caused the conspiracy to move into higher gear, in the late spring/early summer of 2016, the need to respond quickly led to failures of co-ordination and sloppy errors.
The limited interested of today’s MSM in investigating complexity has made it easier for the conspirators to cover-up some of the vulnerabilities this created.
However, the complexity problem is not really material in relation to the lawsuits which Biss and Clevenger have filed on behalf of Butowsky in response to the smear campaigns used to frustrate his efforts to bring the actual truth about the life and death of Seth Rich to light.
This means that, as it were, the obfuscations designed to obscure the fact that he provided the materials from the DNC to ‘WikiLeaks’ may be a relatively weak point in the fortifications set up by the conspirators.
If it can be successfully attacked, then the use of complexity to obfuscate may no longer work so successfully elsewhere.
In addition to the cases I mentioned, there is the most recent suit filed by Clevenger and Biss on behalf of Butowsky, against Douglas Wigdor and Rod Wheeler.
A mass of materials on all these suits is available on the invaluable ‘CourtListener’ site, and although one needs a PACER subscription to access many of them, key documents are freely available.
(See https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/7244731/butowsky-v-folkenflik/ ; https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/14681570/butowsky-v-gottlieb/ ; https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/15999245/butowsky-v-wigdor/ .)
At the time when Larry posted on Magistrate Judge Caroline M. Craven’s denial of the Motion to Dismiss filed by Folkenflik and NPR back in April, the full text of her ruling was not openly available.
It now is – see entry 58, dated 17 April 2019. The ‘Amended Complaint’, entry 54 dated 5 March, is also well worth reading.
On the most recent case, against Wigdor and Wheeler, the ‘Complaint’ is entry 1, dated 31 July 2019.
Those whoever who do not have the time to delve in any detail but want to see how potentially explosive these cases are should read the ‘Second Amended Complaint’ in Butowsky v Gottlieb, which was filed on that same day, and is entry 105 in the ‘CourtListener’ materials.
In this, which followed the attempt by Michael Isikoff to renew the smear campaign, Butowsky ‘outs’ two key sources, Ellen Ratner and Seymour Hersh, who he appears to think have not given him the support they might have.
The audio of the conversation between Butowsky and Hersh has been in the public domain for a long time.
Unfortunately, the only transcripts I can find are grossly inadequate.
It would help if, in addition to the edited excerpts including in their filings, Biss and Clevenger, or someone else, could arrange for as accurate as possible a transcript of the full fascinating 20-minute conversation to be prepared and made readily available.
This conversation, moreover, now needs to be read in the context of a key claim in the ‘Second Amended Complaint’, that ‘In a separate phone call with Mr. Butowsky, Mr. Hersh said he obtained his information about Seth Rich from Mr. McCabe, the deputy FBI director.’
What is not clear to me, having both read the transcript and listened to the audio, is whether Hersh had actually seen the FBI report to which he refers, or whether he relied upon his source’s account of it.
If indeed the source was McCabe, then we have to 1. to wonder why he should have talked to Hersh at all, and 2. whether what he was providing was a ‘limited hangout.’
This is particularly important, because the dating both of the original contact between Rich and ‘WikiLeaks’, and of the discovery of this by Western intelligence/law enforcement agencies, may be critical to making sense of all kinds of elements of this story.
Among these is the history of Smolenkov, about whom Scott Ritter has published some interesting reflections on the ‘Consortium News’ site.
(See https://consortiumnews.com/2019/09/14/the-spy-who-failed/ .)
I see that one hypothesis he takes seriously is that put forward by ‘J’.
My own inclination had been to suspect that, as Larry’s friend suggested, this may have been a version of an ‘Our Man in Havana’ situation, with Brennan in the role of the ludicrous ‘Chief’ in Greene’s novel, who clearly reflected his creator’s experience in the wartime MI6.
However, one does need to keep an open mind, as making premature decisions as to what one can rule out as absolutely unthinkable is the route to getting things comprehensively wrong in matters like this.
That said, Hersh’s suggestion to Butowsky that this was ‘a Brennan operation’ obviously needs to be put together with Ritter’s claim that that ‘intelligence’ from Smolenkov which claimed to vindicate the claim that the DNC materials were hacked, not leaked was presented to the White House in August 2016.
If both are right, it would seem that this tends to narrow the available range of interpretations of what various actors were doing.
I do find myself wondering whether, when the smoke has finally clearly – if it ever does – we will find that Ed Butowsky has played a kind of Colonel Picquart role in all this.
Flynn was not conducting foreign policy on behalf of the USG. Just like John Kerry and his meetings with Iran after Trump was elected. Thanks for repeating the “Russia, Russia, Russia” Line. On to impeachment!
Jim Cunningham says
I actually have a different take than yours.
Smolenkov is Brennan’s ticket out of jail. Smolenkov was Brennan’s source which led him to “suspect” Trump was colluding with Putin. We need to know where Smolenkov is, probably in protective custody somewhere in Virginia.
SEO Dubai says
Essential to concentrate on the reality they are recounting to various and even opposing stories.